Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Hour: Old Vermont Cocktail

I didn't used to like Bobby Flay. Something about him came off as brash and arrogant, and none of his food looked too appealing. Sure, he went to Ireland to film a special, and that was pretty cool, but I was staunchly anti-Flay.

Then something happened to crack my aversion. A magical something, in the form of his White Peach Sangria. I freehanded a version of this for a housewarming party some time back and, well, let's just say it packed a wallop. This recipe is extremely delicious, and worth the extra effort into preparing the peach puree.

But it wasn't the recipe that got me to warm up to him.

It was the spectacular video of Mr. Flay preparing this sangria in which he is undeniably sloshed. I implore you, watch this video and bask in the final shots of him sloshing the sangria everywhere and freehanding fistfuls of fruit into a glass. He opens the video by slogging back drags directly from the bottle, for crying out loud. And that is AMAZING.

A sneak peek of the action.

Some years have passed since then, and I have discovered his new show "Brunch at Bobby's." True, the opening sequence is utterly bizarre, with a disembodied hand throwing an egg at Bobby (prompting slight callbacks to the backlash he got during the January Jones scandal). Outside of that, this show is super solid. You will marvel at the many variations of a frittata, and interesting-yet-manageable takes on brunch dishes that will look so mouth-watering you will actually get up early on a weekend to make them.

And if menu items like Lemon Ricotta Fritters with Fresh Berry Jam or Chorizo-Potato Hash Browns with Black Beans and Salsa Verde don't get your motor running (impossible!), he also makes a brunch cocktail (or on occasion, mocktail) in each episode. They always look gorgeous and citrus-y/sweet/fruity enough to be deemed a 'brunch' cocktail. So, last night, when Ryan and I were preparing to eat Smitten Kitchen's insanely satisfying Spinach and Cheese Strata for dinner, technically a brunch dish, we thought it would be fun to make one of Bobby Flay's brunch cocktails to pair with it.

Good gravy, this cocktail is good. I mean really good. Like, wanting to put a brunch on the books ASAP to share this drink with friends good.

The brunch-y cast of characters.

It has fresh orange and lemon juice, as well as maple syrup, bitters and gin. I'm not nuts about gin and have an aversion to overly sweet cocktails, but this is perfectly balanced. If you worry about your cocktail being cloyingly sweet, rest assured that the syrup is only an accent. Also, note that it is important to use freshly-squeezed orange juice, as it makes the cocktail taste crisp and refreshing while avoiding the added sugar in the store-bought variety.

Freshly-squeezed and Dutch angle-d. 

Old Vermont Cocktail

from Brunch at Bobby's on the Cooking Channel

1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce grade B pure maple syrup (Note: Or any syrup, really. We used grade A, which is actually lower on the syrup hierarchy.)
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed orange juice
2 dashes bitters, such as Angostura (Note: We used Peychaud)
Orange rind

So let's take a journey through this cocktail together - who's thirsty??

Come and get it!

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